Home Articles New Sustainable Green Buildings: A Perspective Review Part – II

Sustainable Green Buildings: A Perspective Review Part – II

impact of technology
Dr. A.N. Sarkar
Ex-Senior Professor (International Business) & Dean (Research), Asia-Pacific Institute of
Management, New Delhi

4.2. Evolution of Green Rating Systems

During the late 20th century, awareness of the impact of technology and the expanding human population on the Earth increased. People started to expand their efforts to reduce their environmental impact and buildings started to become recognized as major contributors to the world’s energy usage, landfill waste and diminishing green space. In 1990, the Building Research Establishment, LLC (BRE) started a voluntary environmental assessment method (BREEAM). The purpose of the assessment method was to objectively measure the environmental performance of new and existing buildings in the United Kingdom. As the system evolved, goals were set for buildings to have a better rating. Instead of buildings simply being designed to meet code requirements, designers were striving to achieve improved building performance. The third-party assessment became a critical part of the assessment program as all buildings were held to the same standard. In the following years, BREEAM was introduced to other countries, including Canada, Hong Kong and New Zealand (BREEAM 2009). In 1996, 14 countries (Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States) began the two-year developmental process known as the Green Building Challenge. The goal was to develop and test a method for measuring building performance considering environmental and energy issues. The Green Building Challenge continued its development through 2000, 2002 and 2005, and resulted in the development of the GBTool, a tool used to assist in the environmental evaluation of buildings. The Green Building Challenge is now known as the Sustainable Building Challenge and continues to stimulate debate about building environmental performance and green building design (iiSEBE 2009). Over the years, many additional green rating systems have been created based on BREEAM, the GBTool or research regarding the environmental needs of a country. Rating systems have evolved based both on user feedback and the development of new technology to improve the environmental performance of buildings. Green rating systems started out as a voluntary measure of environmental performance. However, certification is now a mandate for buildings in many areas across the globe. Fifteen rating systems that offer certifications are currently available throughout the world and more are in development or pilot stages (Figure 17). Three systems are currently available for buildings outside of their home countries: BREEAM, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Green Globes (Rating Systems Timeline: www.irjes.com/Papers/vol3-issue5/H355364.pdf).

Rating and certification systems help define green buildings in the market. They inform how environmentally sound a building is, providing clarity to what extent green components have been incorporated and which sustainable principles and practices have been employed. Many different rating systems exist, and each has pros and cons depending on the specifics of your building. Rating a green building informs tenants and the public about the environmental benefits of a property, and discloses the additional innovation and effort the owner has invested to achieve a high performance building. Green buildings are considered high performance buildings if implemented properly. Strategically integrated mechanical, electrical, and materials systems often create substantial efficiencies, the complexity of which is not always transparent. Rating a green building identifies those differences objectively, and quantifies their contribution to energy and resource efficiency. The rating then allows for better communication of what those high performance features are, and helps differentiate the building in the market. In addition, rating buildings can reduce implied risks. Since rating systems often require independent third-party testing of the various elements, there is less risk that the systems will not perform as predicted. Further, if a building is formally rated (or certified), there is less risk that the project has been “green washed”— or marketed to create the perception that a property is green, when in fact no real effort or expense has been invested achieve that goal.

4.3. Most Widely Used Green Rating Systems in the World

The evolution of green rating systems will take an in-depth look at some of the most widely used systems: BREEAM, LEED, Green Globes and Green Star (Table 1).

4.3.1. BREEAM

Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) BREEAM includes eight main categories of environmental impacts (Table 1). The categories consider topics such as:  Maintenance and operation policies, Occupant control, Carbon dioxide reduction, Energy and water management, Recycled and responsible use of materials, Effect of the building on ecology, Credits are awarded in each of the categories.

Weightings are applied to each category and then scores from each category are added together to produce an overall percentage score (Figure 18). In the United Kingdom, many new developments, schools and government buildings require a very good or excellent rating. Check with www.breeam.org to see which regions require a certain rating and if there are penalties for not achieving the required rating. As the regulations are for new construction schemes, and evaluations occur at several stages during the process, in the authors’ opinion, it is unlikely the process will be completed without achieving the required rating. Outside the United Kingdom, a country can develop its own adapted version or use a BREEAM international scheme to certify buildings. Two countries that have already established their own versions of BREEAM are Spain and the Netherlands, and others are under development. When the international scheme is used, it is necessary that a BREEAM international assessor be used to assess the buildings (BREEAM assessors will be discussed later in this section). Two geographical schemes, BREEAM Europe and BREEAM Gulf, are available for use by BREEAM International assessors.

BREEAM Certification Process

The first step in attaining BREEAM certification is to have a pre-assessment of the building completed by a BREEAM pre-assessment estimator. The pre-assessment estimator will explain the BREEAM process and determine under which scheme the building should be assessed. As shown in Figure 18, BREEAM offers 12 standard rating systems; in addition, a domestic refurbishment scheme is under development. For buildings that do not fit within one of the normal assessment schemes, a custom version of the scheme, called a bespoke assessment, can be completed. After the correct scheme has been determined, the next step of the process is to decide what the goals are for the building, including certification level, improved processes, the addition of alternative energy sources and more. The certification levels include:  Pass, requiring a rating of 30 percent.

  • Good, requiring a rating of 45 percent
  • Very good, requiring a rating of 55 percent
  • Excellent, requiring a rating of 70 percent
  • Outstanding, requiring a rating of 85 percent

As the rating levels increase, additional requirements must be met to achieve that certification. The outstanding level also requires that information about the building be published as a case study written by BRE (BREEAM, 2009).

When determining which goals to achieve, it is necessary to take into account which credits must be attained, the feasibility of implementing required technologies in the building and the cost of achieving certification. In 2006, a study titled “Schools for the Future – The Cost of BREEAM Compliance in Schools” was conducted to determine the costs for schools to achieve a specific level of certification (Lockie, 2006). The study found that there was little to no extra cost to achieve a good rating, but the cost increased exponentially for each level thereafter (Table 2).

It is best to involve an assessor as early in the design stage as possible to ensure the maximum performance per cost. It is also important to provide the assessor with necessary information during the design stage for all new construction projects. This information will be documented in a report, a copy of which will be forwarded to BRE for quality assurance prior to issuance of a design stage certification. Once construction is finished, a post-construction review will be completed and the final certification will be issued. The time period required to complete the assessment varies based on the building type and location, but will not last longer than five years. For existing buildings, the BREEAM in-use scheme measures the actual operation of the building. BREEAM in-use certification can be provided by an auditor with the aid of the assessment tool.

4.3.2. LEED

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED™): Green Building Rating System represents the U.S. Green Building Council’s effort to provide a national standard for what consistitutes a “green building.” Through its use as a design guideline and third-party certification tool, it aims to improve occupant well-being, environmental performance and economic returns of buildings using established and innovative practices, standards and technologies. Consistent with USGBC policy for the continuous improvement of LEED, Version 2.1 is an administrative update of the LEED 2.0 Rating System for new commercial construction, major renovations and high-rise residential buildings. Its purpose is to address concerns raised by USGBC members and other LEED users by providing technical clarifications and streamlining the documentation requirements for LEED certification. These improvements are expected to simplify the documentation process for project teams and to reduce the costs of documenting LEED credits while retaining the stringency and integrity of the LEED Version 2.0 standards. An approval vote by USGBC membership is not required for Version 2.1 because performance levels have not been altered. Version 2.1 was created through the generous volunteer efforts of the LEED Technical Advisory Groups and with the guidance of the LEED Steering Committee. This document represents general consensus, not unanimous agreement. USGBC gratefully acknowledges the contributions of its committee members. The new LEED Letter Template is a central component of the Version 2.1 improvements. It is a dynamic tracking and documentation tool that must be used by Version 2.1 project teams in preparing a complete LEED certification submittal. For each credit, the Letter Template prompts LEED practitioners for data, indicates when documentation requirements have been fulfilled adequately for submittal, and serves as a formatting template for the project’s initial submittal. Additional support documents will be requested during the certification assessment’s audit phase. This Rating System document states the basic intent, requirements and documentation submittals that are necessary to achieve each prerequisite and voluntary “credit.” Projects earn one or more points toward certification by meeting or exceeding each credit’s technical requirements. All prerequisites must be achieved in order to qualify for certification. Points add up to a final score that relates to one of four possible levels of certification.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The first LEED rating system developed was for new construction. Currently, LEED has been expanded to include several additional rating systems, as shown in Figures 20. Most of the LEED rating systems focus on the design and construction stages of a building. LEED for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance (LEED-EBOM), which was referred to as LEED for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) until 2009, is for existing buildings and for buildings that were originally certified under new construction and are seeking recertification. Overall, certification processes for both new and existing buildings are nearly the same. The existing building certification process also requires a performance period of three months to two years during which performance data, such as energy and water usage, is collected. As of 2014, LEED launched LEED v4 which includes variations for data centers, warehouses and distribution centers, hospitality, existing schools and retail and mid-rise residential projects. LEED v4 allows the opportunity for LEED to fit the unique aspects of different projects (Figure 20).

LEED includes nine different categories. Category topics include (USGBC, 2014):

  • Effects of the building on the ecosystems
  • Water and energy consumption
  • Sustainable use and transportation of materials
  • Indoor air and lighting quality
  • Location of the building
  • Utilization of technology innovation
  • Regional issues and priorities
  • Awareness and education
  • Innovation and design

Outside of the United States, there are two options for using the LEED system. One is to adapt the LEED ratings to the local system by working with the U.S. Green Building Council. Under this option, certification would be completed by the local system. Many countries have implemented and adapted this option or are in the process of adopting LEED for their own usage, including but not limited to Brazil, China, Canada, India, the Philippines and Spain. These countries have their own versions of LEED that are regulated by the Green Building Council within each country (Spain GBC, 2010; Canada GBC, 2010; GBCB, 2008). Several other countries are also developing their own versions of LEED. The second option for using LEED outside of the United States is to certify the international system under the U.S. version of LEED. If this option is pursued, the building is subject to the codes and regulations of the United States and the USGBC, and the regional priority credits are not available. When used in the United States, the regional priority credits give greater weight to certain credits based on the region of the U.S. in which the building is located. However, in other countries some of these credits may not be sustainable solutions. LEED Certification Process and Accredited Professionals

The first step in achieving LEED certification is to register the building with the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). Although the U.S. Green Building Council develops and manages the LEED rating systems, the GBCI is responsible for all certification applications. The GBCI administers an accreditation program for LEED Green Associates and LEED Accredited Professionals (LEED AP). The LEED Green Associate designation is designed to be the first step in accreditation with GBCI and may be held by those with a nontechnical background, such as marketing professionals. Since you are required to have worked on a LEED project prior to applying for the LEED AP, this accreditation is meant for those with a more technical background and who have demonstrated experience in helping guide others through the LEED process. While involving a LEED Accredited Professional in a LEED project is not mandatory, it can help streamline the certification process, provide valuable information on achieving certification and allow one credit toward certification. USGBC provides checklists for each rating system that cover the prerequisites and credits. The checklists can be used to identify the possibility of earning each credit as a yes, no or maybe. Credit points awarded under LEED Certification procedure are as follows:

  • Sustainable Sites
  • Prerequisite 1: Erosion & Sedimentation Control
  • Credit 1 Site Selection
  • Credit 2 Development Density
  • Credit 3 Brownfield Redevelopment
  • Credit 4 Alternative Transportation
  • Credit 5 Reduced Site Disturbances
  • Credit 6 Storm-water Management
  • Credit 7 Heat Island Effect
  • Credit 8 Light Pollution Reduction
  • Water Efficiency
  • Credit 1 Water Efficient Landscaping
  • Credit 2 Innovative Wastewater Technologies
  • Credit 3 Water Use Reduction
  • Energy & Atmosphere
  • Prerequisite 1: Fundamental Building Systems Commissioning
  • Prerequisite 2: Minimum Energy Performance
  • Prerequisite 3: CFC Reduction in HVAC&R Equipment
  • Credit 1 Optimize Energy Performance
  • Credit 2: Renewable Energy
  • Credit 3 Additional Commissioning
  • Credit 4 Ozone Depletion
  • Credit 5 Measurement & Verification
  • Credit 6 Green Power
  • Materials & Resources
  • Prerequisite
  • Storage & Collection of Recyclables
  • Credit 1 Building Reuse
  • Credit 2 Construction Waste Management
  • Credit 3 Resource Reuse
  • Credit 4 Recycled Content 41 Credit 5
  • Local/Regional Materials Credit 6
  • Rapidly Renewable Materials
  • Credit 7 Certified Wood
  • Indoor Environmental Quality
  • Prerequisite 1 Minimum IAQ Performance
  • Prerequisite 2 Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) Control
  • Credit 1 Carbon Dioxide (CO2 ) Monitoring
  • Credit 2 Ventilation Effectiveness
  • Credit 3 Construction IAQ Management Plan
  • Credit 4 Low-Emitting Materials
  • Credit 5 Indoor Chemical & Pollutant Source Control
  • Credit 6 Controllability of Systems
  • Credit 7 Thermal Comfort
  • Credit 8 Daylight & Views
  • Innovation & Design Process
  • Credit 1 Innovation in Design
  • Credit 2 LEED Accredited Professional

4.3.3. Green Globes

Green Globes is offered in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. Green Globes has two rating systems: one for Existing buildings and one for New buildings (Figure 21).

The Green Globes for Continual Improvement of Existing Buildings (CIEB) in Canada is managed by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Canada under the title BOMA BESt. (BOMA Canada also has three other tools: Building Emergency Management, Building Intelligence and Fit-Up at www.greenglobes.com/default.asp.) All other Green Globes products in Canada are administered by ECD Jones Lang LaSalle. Figure 6: Green Globes rating systems In the United States, Green Globes is managed by the Green Building Initiative (GBI). In the United Kingdom, the existing buildings version of Green Globes is called Gem U.K. Slight modifications have been made to Green Globes among the three countries. While Green Globes is primarily offered in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, it is not restricted to those countries. It should be noted that Green Globes was the first commercial building rating system based on an American National Standard (see www.ansi.org). Green Globes includes six categories of environmental impacts. The categories include topics such as:

  • Energy reduction
  • Environmental purchasing
  • Development area
  • Water performance
  • Low-impact systems and materials
  • Air emissions and occupancy comfort

The system is heavily weighted toward energy reduction and integration of energy-efficient systems. The Green Globes tool also includes a life cycle assessment, which evaluates the impact of various building materials over the lifetime of the building. As a result, different design scenarios can be compared with the life cycle of the building (Green Globes, 2013). The Green Globes certification level depends on the country in which the rating system is being used. Within each country there are four or five rating levels based on the total percentage of points. As shown in Figure 22, there are four levels of Green Globes ratings specifically in the United States. In Canada, BOMA BEST also has four categories (Figure 23).



4.3.4. Green Star Australia

Green Star is the green building rating system used in Australia, and has been adapted and licensed to the New Zealand and South African green building councils for use in their respective markets. Green Star ratings are available for every building type, with the exception of free-standing homes. Green Star rating tools include: Green Star – Design and As Built, which guides the sustainable design and construction of buildings including offices, schools and university buildings, industrial facilities, public buildings, train stations, conference and retail centers, multi-unit residential dwellings and hospitals. Green Star – Interiors, which assesses the interior fit outs of all building types. Green Star – Communities, which addresses the sustainability of projects at the neighborhood, precinct or community scale. Green Star – Performance, which assesses the operational efficiency of existing buildings. Green Star assesses and rates buildings, fit outs and communities against a range of environmental impact categories. Green Star rating tools for individual building and fit out design, construction and operations assess projects against the following categories:  Management, Indoor environmental quality, Energy, Transport, Water, Materials, Land Use and Ecology, Emissions, Innovation

The Green Star – Communities rating tool assesses community and precinct-level projects against six categories:  Governance, Design, Livability, Economic prosperity, Environment, Innovation. Once the credits are assessed, a percentage score for each category is calculated and a weighting is applied. As Green Star rewards best practice or above, three certification levels can be achieved for Design and As Built, Communities and Interiors:

  • 4 Star, with a score of 45 to 59 signifying
  • Best Practice. 5 Star, with a score of 60 to 74 signifying
  • Australian Excellence 6 Star, with a score of 75 to 100 signifying

World Leadership Green Star – Performance encourages incremental improvement in operations, so provides ratings from 1-6 Stars.

The LEED Rating System is used mostly in North America, Brazil and India, while at least five other rating systems are currently used in other countries as summarized in Table 3.

Abbreviations used: GeSBC: The German Sustainable Building Certification; HEQ: High Environmental Quality; CASBEE: Comprehensive Assessment System for Building Environmental Efficiency; BREEAM: Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method; LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

5.0. Green and Smart Buildings

Green is Smart considers various strengths and risks in building a matrix of opportunities that supports the whole of society. Crucial components are an ambitious plan to become the lowest carbon province; to redesign the way we live and work in our cities and towns; to harness the innovative energy of our globally recognised information and communications technology (ICT) sector to develop solutions appropriate to emerging market conditions; and to become a globally preferred investment centre. Figure 24 synthesises the current state of the art regarding the identified pillars.

It is worth noticing that to evaluate the current state of the art of practices (therefore identifying good or so-called “best practices”) and to benchmark future practices, it is required to identify a set of selection criteria. Along key criteria may be mentioned the following (only indicative) ones. Over six billion people are expected to live in cities and surrounding regions by 2050. Consequently, in the near future, the autonomic and smart operation of cities may be a critical requirement to improve the economic, social, and environmental well-being of citizens. Smart urban technologies represent an important contribution to the sustainable development of cities, making smart cities a reality. In this sense, the energy sustainability of cities has become a global concern, bringing with it a wide range of research and technological challenges that affect many aspects of people’s lives. Because most of the human lifetime is spent indoors, buildings, which make up a city subsystem, require special attention. Indeed, buildings are the cornerstone in terms of power consumption and CO2 emissions on a global scale.

5.1. Smart Buildings are Networked, Intelligent. Adaptable

Nowadays, buildings are increasingly expected to meet higher and more complex performance requirements. Among these requirements, energy efficiency is recognized as an international goal to promote energy sustainability of the planet. Different approaches have been adopted to address this goal, the most recent relating consumption patterns with human occupancy. In this work, we analyze what are the main parameters that should be considered to be included in any building energy management. The goal of such analysis is to help designers to select the most relevant parameters to control the energy consumption of buildings according to their context, selecting them as input data of the management system.

Considering the functionality and identity as central it is reasonable to define the IoT as “Things having identities and virtual personalities operating in smart spaces using intelligent interfaces to connect and communicate within social, environmental, and user contexts”. A different definition, that puts the focus on the seamless integration, could be formulated as “Interconnected objects having an active role in what might be called the Future Internet”. At a time when the notion of ‘Internet of Things’ was still rather undefined and debated mostly in academic circles, DG INFSO and EPoSS realised that they were sharing the same vision of an Internet of Things as the result of several shifts – from systems to software-based services, from passive RFID tags to active RFID tags and wireless sensors, to the mythic Semantic Web, from identification to real-time ‘sense and response’, from exposure to privacy, and from protection to trust (Internet of Things in 2020 – A ROADMAP FOR THE FUTURE: http://www.smart-systems-integration.org/public/documents/publications/Internet-of-Things_in_2020_EC-EPoss_Workshop _Report_2008_v3.pdf).

The integration and development of systems based on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and, more specifically, the Internet of Things (IoT), are important enablers of a broad range of applications, both for industries and the general population, helping make smart buildings a reality. IoT permits the interaction between smart things and the effective integration of real world information and knowledge in the digital world. Smart (mobile) things endowed with sensing and interaction capabilities or identification technologies (such as RFID) provide the means to capture information about the real world in much more detail than ever before. The Smart Building is an intelligent environment that delivers efficiency, comfort, and safety for owners and occupants (Figure 25). For instance, 50B devices can connect to the Internet accessing to Greater compute capabilities; Data analytics to extract meaningful information. IoT can serve as a handy tool/device for providing Enterprise Convergence Platform for Building Systems and IT Systems (Figure 26).

There are 5 Key IOT Principles for Smart Buildings; namely Edge to Cloud, Mobility, Analytics, Security to Manageability and Shared Relevance (Figure 26). For instance, 50B devices can connect to the Internet accessing to Greater compute capabilities; Data analytics to extract meaningful information. IoT can serve as a handy tool/device for providing Enterprise Convergence Platform for Building Systems and IT Systems (Figure 27). In sum, Smart Buildings are enabled by the Internet of Things, transforming the OT world, and creating new services and new business models.

Several major construction companies in Japan have pursued the development of systems based on similar ideas and to date there are a number of proposals; especially related to High-rise Smart buildings – the Building of the future (Figure 28).

The Shimizu Manufacturing System by Advanced Robotics Technology (SMART) system of the Shimizu Corporation controls all phases of building construction from underground work and superstructure work to finishing and M&E work (Figure 28). It also controls various construction management tasks for the automated construction of High rise buildings using robotics and nano-technology (Development and Application of the SMART System:http://www.iaarc.org/publications/fulltext/Develop-ment_and_application_of_the_SMART_system.PDF).


  • Ali, M. M. (2008). Energy Efficiency Architecture and building system to address global warming: Leadership and management in Engineering, 115, 116 & 119.
  • BREEAM (2009). BREEAM: The Environmental Assessment Method for Buildings Around the World. www.breeam.org. Accessed Dec. 18, 2014.
  • Breen Globes (2013), Green Globes® for New Construction Better Building Science for Better Results: https://www.thegbi.org/content/misc/White_Paper_for_an_Overview_of_Green_Globes_New_Construction.pdf.
  • Development and Application of the SMART System: http://www.iaarc.org/publications/fulltext/Development_and_application_of_the_SMART_system.PDF.
  • Dick, G. (2007) Green building basics. Retrieved from http://www.ciwmb.ca.gov/GreenBuilding/Basics.htm.
  • Environmental Building News. (1999). Building green on a budget. Retrieved from www.ebuild.com / ArchivesFeatures/Low_Cost/Low_Cost.html#General.
  • Fried, G. (2005). Managing sport facilities. Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL.
  • GBCI Trademarks: http://www.gbci.org/legal/trademarks/gcbi.aspx
  • Internet of Things in 2020 A ROADMAP FOR THE FUTURE: http://www.smart-systems-integration.org/public/documents/publications/Internet-of-Things_in_2020_EC-EPoSS_Workshop_Report_2008_v3.pdf.
  • Kibert, C. J (1994). Establishing Principles and a Model for Sustainable Construction. Proceedings of the first International Conference of CIB Task Group 16 on Sustainable Construction, Tampa, FL, , vol. 6-9, p. 3-12.
  • LEED Minimum Program Requirements (MPRs): http://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=6715
  • Lockie, S. et al. (2006). Schools for the Future: The Cost of BREEAM Compliance in Schools. www.fgould.com/uk/projects/ the-cost-of-breeam-compliance-in-schools. Accessed Dec. 18, 2014.
  • Newman, P., (2001). “Sustainability and cities: the role of tall buildings in the new global agenda.” Proc, CTBUH Sixth World Congress, 76-109.
  • Suttell, R. (2006). The true cost of building green. Buildings, 100(4), 46-48
  • USGBC Trademark Guidelines: http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=1835
  • Xiang Zhao; Xue Bai; Enshen Long, “Key technologies of green building design and their software simulation,” Advanced Computer Theory and Engineering (ICACTE), 2010 3rd International Conference on , vol.2, no., pp.V2-199,V2-202, 20-22 Aug. 2010.
  • Yost, P. (2002). Green building programs—An overview. Building Standards, March-April, 12-16.
  • Yudelson, J. (2009).What is a Green Building? Sustainable Retail Development, DOI, 2009, pp 41 & 43.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here